I’ve been thinking a lot about what will happen to South Africa, I guess when you move away from home for a while you start wondering if it’s the right place to go back to. For as long as I’ve been alive SA has been on ‘a knife edge’ according to most people. It could have gone off a cliff so many times now based on the tongues of the northern suburbs elite that I myself continue to be paranoid that one day it will all come crashing down, even though I know how untrue that is. As if one morning I won’t be able to get to work because we will have turned into Syria overnight and I’ll have to defend myself with a sawed off shotgun like a post apocalyptic waste land of some sort?!
The truth is it doesn’t ever happen like that, the rot doesn’t come over night, it comes slowly, creeping and infesting. The corruption and lying and stealing start to erode away money that is destined for schools, roads, hospitals, police stations and the like, and before you know it you are living in a place that resembles a geriatric invalid that cant wipe its own drool.
It dawned on me during my most recent trip to India. The slow rot sets in and the politicians steal as fast as they can before there’s nothing left, the rich build bigger walls, hire more servants and develop services to protect their perfect bubbles, and the poor, well the poor get poorer, more desperate, more pathetic and more disillusioned. The shacks and shanty towns spread from minor locations to spots all over the city like mildew behind a most old cupboard, and the streets fill with rubbish, feces and sleeping homeless bodies.
It seems like a frightening picture but when you see Mumbai you realize just how possible it all is. In a place where the trusted leaders are more focused on lining their pockets than living up to a responsibility that they have been given to look after a nation, that’s when infrastructure starts to break and nations descend into darkness.
The very real future for SA I believe is the same as India. There will continue to be rich, mega rich, middle class and poor. There will be fantastic hotels, holiday spots, massive vacation mansions, world class restaurants, magical scenery and exclusive places for the rich to play BUT there will be decay on the streets, squalor in too many places to pretend it’s a small problem and beggars with children they’ve crippled, standing in groups at the traffic lights begging for anything to survive.
It won’t happen overnight but when you blink Johannesburg will be a very different city one that we will look at with disbelief as to how rotten and filthy it has gotten. Sadly I think this will be the future of SA unless something is done to stop the absolute disregard for the country’s long term health. I know it sounds defeatist and pathetically sad but with all that has gone on recently and what continues to transpire with no responsibility what so ever, you try and deny its possible!